Road improvements face delays partly due to east European engineering workers leaving for projects like HS2, a council officer said.
Essex County Council heard its highways department had been “reliant on some of the eastern European countries”.
Vicky Presland, head of design services, said: “There are just not enough engineering staff to go around at the moment.”
She said some advertised jobs were not receiving any applications.
The Conservative-controlled council’s Place Services and Economic Growth Policy and Scrutiny Committee was told that although the county had an extra £7.2m in government funding for the next three years for roads projects, it was unlikely to get spent immediately, said the Local Democracy Reporting Service .
Essex’s 12 district councils have Local Highways Panels which are responsible for making recommendations to the county council for improvements such as traffic signalling, crossing facilities and road safety schemes.
“I did have a lot of Polish workers and Polish designers. I haven’t got them in the quantity that I used to have and you’ve got schemes like HS2 where they’re out to adverts for a thousand engineers at the moment,” said Ms Presland.
“So I know the lorry drivers and staff shortages are hitting the headlines, but it is the same in the engineering world.”
Labour councillor for Abbey in Colchester, Lee Scordis, said: “Brexit has had a huge impact.
“In that time we have not trained enough engineers as a country.
“It means that people are going to be waiting later and longer for [a] scheme to be completed.”
A representative from Essex Highways said: “There is a challenge around recruiting across the industry at the moment, mainly because of the buoyancy of the civil engineering sector in the south-east with projects like HS2 ramping up and taking on a lot of engineering staff.
“Essex Highways is not in a position to speculate how much of an impact Brexit has had on the situation.”
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